from Wilderness Tours, Ontario
Never run out of food – this is one element of adventure
tourism you can control!
Excursion Mauricie, Québec
One example of catering to every detail is providing complementary
client transfer from client accommodations to the adventure departure
point. Excursion Mauricie offers this service and finds that clients
perceive this to be a personalized, easy to use, and added-value
service. In fact, they find that when the transportation component
is taken care of, the product is more accessible and the client
faces one less constraint to purchase your product.
Québec Hors-Circuits and Excursion Mauricie
are two operators that have planned adaptations ready for when
inclement weather strikes. When the Saguenay Fjord is too rough
to warrant a zodiac trip, Québec Hors-Circuits offers alternatives
such as guided hiking with geological interpretation of the Fjord.
Excursion Mauricie takes advantage of inclement
weather by focusing on unique interpretation, e.g. the beautiful
scent of conifers in the rain, foggy and mysterious landscapes,
and creative photography.
“Even rain becomes a source of pleasure and amusement for
our clients! In rainy weather we ensure guests enjoy their adventure
experience by: providing guests with complete equipment including
spare rain gear; encouraging clients to test their limits by motivating
them to succeed and enjoy the difference of doing the activity
in the rain; [and] having a positive attitude to help see and
appreciate the place in another light.”
Uncommon Journeys, Yukon Territory, Canada
“It is absolutely clear that the higher
the quality of the product – the higher the margin. Particularly
in the north – low volume means a need for high quality
and but also high revenue. High end for us is not ‘luxury’
– that isn’t why guests come. [Distinguish the difference
between quality and luxury.] Service is the difference. Our cabins
are rustic but clean. Clothes are new and warm.
We never give guests anything that we wouldn’t
wear, eat or use. Authenticity of the experience is essential.
Our overhead is enormously high but we make [very significantly
higher] profit than operations that try to do it “on the
Comments (Exerpts) from a client travelling with Polar Sea Adventures,
Pond Inlet, Nunavut
Traveling with Dave Reid & Polar Sea Adventures
was a pleasure because the company prioritized safety and comfort
of its clients at all times.
- Bringing along extra gear for
clients, including hats, jackets and mitts, in the event that
we were cold and many of us utilized this equipment. This also
included putting hot water bottles in our sleeping bags at night
a very welcome treat.
- Making provisions for those clients
who have dietary restrictions. As a vegetarian I was well taken
care of and was never made to feel that my diet was an encumbrance
- Showing care and concern for everyone on the trip, Dave took
time to look into our eyes and make sure we were warm, comfortable
and that our needs were met. For example, when he made the decision
to stay an extra night, he cleared it with each one of us individually,
ensuring that none of us had a problem with it.
Anishinabe Experience, Golden Lake, Ontario
Upon arrival, we meet and greet our guests. We discuss what they
are interested in experiencing. This allows flexibility, and a
personal contact that makes them feel special – the experience
is personalized just for them. We want our guests to feel like
they are at home, meeting new friends, learning a new culture,
experiencing traditions, and being part of a community.
Québec Hors-Circuits spends considerable
effort in hiring, training and motivating their guides. The company
strives to hire guides that have a unique and diverse set of qualifications
– skills and knowledge bases that are diverse and that complement
For example, if the company requires a guide to
provide snowmobiling trips, they ensure the guide not only is
an expert in snowmobiling, but that the guide also has a knowledge
of the region and the surrounding environment, as well as good
understanding of outdoor activities.
More from Quebec Hors-Circuits and Excursion Mauricie
Both operators have found that to be able to successfully offer
alternative programs, you have to extensively know your region
and have alternative routes and experiences available to your
guests. This can require you to have alternative guides and equipment
available on short notice, and entails other logistical considerations.
The primary benefit of being able to offer alternative experiences
is that you will still generate revenue, and if you can provide
a quality alternative experience that satisfies your clients,
they may return at another time to participate in the experience
they were originally seeking.
Kairosmaja, Lapland, Finland
“We have always felt it important to hire staff locally,
because in this way they can commit themselves to the values and
operations of our company. The customers appreciate this. The
permanent staff is mostly employed year-round and some additional
help is hired during peak seasons. It is important to take care
of the staff, as it reflects on the customer service. We purchase
some local products like fish, potatoes, berries and souvenirs.”
North Baffin Operator
Quality will always sell. Lessons need to be learned from other
parts of the world. It is a continuous process; we learn something
every year. It is important that someone is always in charge to
make and maintain decisions that relate to visitors’ safety.
Sometimes this is difficult for Inuit people as they find it difficult
to say ‘no’.
Wilderness Tours, Ontario
We live in very litigious times where no one wants
to be responsible for their actions. Even if someone trips because
they do not watch where they are going, they want you to pay for
any injury or inconvenience caused by the injury.
Notwithstanding operating a professional program
is the single most important aspect of risk management... A close
second is victim care at the accident scene and continuous follow
up. We instituted this program about ten years ago. ... Since
then we have had [no lawyer letters] concerning river accidents.
We have a few “slip and fall” lawsuits only because
we have not been as diligent about them mistakenly thinking they
posed no threat.
Butterfly Tours (Coastal British Columbia) says:
“Our tour guides allow us to provide safe wilderness experiences
that are intimate and challenging. Some of the unique qualities
that our guides can provide to clients are:
- Guides with 20 years experience sea kayaking and guiding
in Gwaii Haanas;
- Tours led by the most experienced sea kayak guide in the
- Proven ability to effectively teach wilderness kayaking
- Intimate familiarity with the area and its inhabitants.”
Snow Games of Lapland, Finland
The company implemented a Quality, Safety and Environment system
for their operation three years ago. Since then, all operations
have been documented and subsequently used as corporate guidelines
for training staff. For example, operational guidelines include
daily measurements in the consumption of oil and fuel for snowmobile
Details of accidents are recorded and monitored. Both oral and
written feedback from clients are used to evaluate service.
Activities and trips are well prepared beforehand.
When service is good and things work well, the client feedback
is positive. The customer is provided with information before
the trip (through tour operators or on the internet) regarding
local weather, what to wear, rules for driving snowmobiles.
On location, before the safari begins, customers
are briefed again on the same topics. The quality system has worked
well and is a selling point for prospective clients. Risk analysis
is carried out for each different product category.
Uncommon Journeys, Yukon Territory, Canada
Our company is well known for its safety practices
– we adhere to Outward Bound standards. Our business involves
dog team trips with guests driving their own sled and team. We
therefore take a huge amount of time after their arrival on “how
to dogsled”. Guests can be a little anxious.
The first night is like a ‘Mushing 101’.
We spend time instructing and letting clients know what they can
expect the next day. We also explain the physics of mushing –
why we wait a certain running. In the morning we repeat the information
We operate with a low guide to client ratio –
never more than three guests for each guide. On the trail there
is a guide in front and one at the back. Our trails have a progression,
starting with easy logging trails and then they gradually narrow
down to finally a single winding track.
Clients start with about six well-trained dogs,
but some can be un-hooked in difficult sections so that the guests
always feel in control. In six years we have never had a serious
Excursion Mauricie, Québec
Adventure Travel and Ecotourism Best Practices Tour 2000, The
Economic Planning Group of Canada on behalf of The Canadian Tourism
Commission, July, 2000
When catering to a family, we typically place children in the
canoe with the guide. The guide oversees the safety of canoeing,
entertains the children, and tells them about the flora and fauna
at an age-appropriate level. The parents then have the opportunity
to paddle on their own in a second canoe. This allows them a much
deeper appreciation of nature and the experience and ensures they
relax and enjoy their surroundings, while the guide oversees the
Naturupplevelser i Lappland, Sweden – Safety Practices
The absolutely most important way to achieve high quality and
safety is planning. I can see the whole arrangement in front of
me, from the guest sitting at home thinking about what he/she
wants to experience, to the follow-up when the guest is at home
again. Then I’m going through the arrangement itself, day
by day, and thinking of everything that will happen – and
what can happen. One day is devoted to going through every arrangement
with staff members.
….Advance information is important when you arrange hunting.
On one hand, there are lots of licenses that have to be applied
for – and that takes time. On the other hand, I inform the
client about what kind of rules and regulations are in force regarding
the handling of weapons and hunting in Sweden. I have memos which
the guests have to sign to show that they have understood what
it is about. Then if something happens, the hunting leader doesn’t
have that kind of responsibility. Those memos should be written
in a language which the guest can understand.
The week before the guest comes, I call them to make sure they
have all the permissions they need so the guest won’t miss
any hunting day because of that. The guest feels extra safe when
he knows that I as the organizer care about him. I also send my
guests a list of equipment and a list with information about doctors,
dentist etc. Just so they will know that there is a service network
even though they are in the wilderness. I also ask the guest to
inform me about special dietary needs.
Nunavut Lodge Owner – West Hudson Bay
Because of the natural hazards of hiking through Nunavut wilderness,
and the large population of polar bears in the Wager Bay area,
visitors are never allowed to venture out on their own without
being accompanied by a members of the company – that is,
a Nunavut resident who is aware of local conditions and safety
issues. Order is always maintained in water-based activities.
Local guides are given responsibility for the safety of their
clients and will not go out in dangerous conditions even at the
urging of the clients.